Fall has arrived since the last time I wrote here, it was heralded by two extremely windy days, then I went to bed last Friday and woke up in the middle of the night feeling so cold I had to fetch an extra quilt. It was snowing the next morning, and the house felt so frigid. I switched on the furnace, expecting to hear the sudden whoosh and that comforting dusty smell, but nothing. Something was wrong with the furnace. So on Saturday afternoon I called in a repair man, he arrived at 9.30 pm and showed me how the batteries in the hermostat had eroded. Now the furnace is in working order, we don’t really need it because the weather has warmed up again. Fall is definitely on the way though.
I’ve spent a lot of time lately just filling in forms and dealing with medical things, I’m quite well though, am on a waiting list to get treated for the hyperthyroidism. I have to have my mammogram repeated. So was feeling rather sorry for myself last week and it was with perfect timing my brother called and we had a lengthy chat, then out of the blue I sold a story I had written 18 months ago and completely forgotten about! What with all the upheaval at Dorchester Media, I think the story had just been left lying around. Three of the True magazines are gone now, True Confessions and True Story remain. Even though the stories I wrote were just simple, formulaic romances, I had forgotten how good it feels to sell a story. I don’t intend jumping back into it but I do want to finish the story I started about a year ago and submit and then hopefully dig my way out of the awful slump I am in where writing is concerned, I get ideas and I still love writing, but somehow the laundry/cooking/driving/job/housework all seem to get in the way.
Boy 2 made me smile yesterday. I’d made his ‘bed’ (he’s still sleeping on an exercise mat) with a red sheet and his Spongebob quilt. His usual plaid sheet was in the dryer. When he got home from school he went into his room and started crying, I ahd to tell his therapist (who was visiting at the time) I wasn’t sure what the problem was. I could see he’d stripped his bed but that doesn’t usually upset him. After Miss K left I went to investigate further (he’d stopped crying by now) and saw that the red sheet had been stuffed back into the linen closet, so I put it back on. He pulled it off and started really fussing. I then put the plaid sheet, dry by this time, on his bed and he was fine, I have no idea what he has against the red sheet!
Today was something of a change of pace for me as it was staff training day at Central, and it was so great too see so many old coworkers from Mission, I realized how much I miss them all. They were so supportive during the trickiest period of my life. And as fond as I am of my coworkers as Tallyn’s, I have known coworkers from Mission for almost 20 years! The training events started with a talk about technology in libraries from a man who couldn’t work Powerpoint or get his microphone to activate, then there was a zumba session and I joined in, there was much laughing and stumbling around. Then went to this session called Book Bingo, which was really interesting and during the talk on upcoming new books I ticked many on the list provided – The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott comes out in February 2012. It’s about a woman travelling on the Titanic to a new job as a dressmaker, but then ehr life is overtaken by the tragedy and its aftermath. I ticked some others but can’t remember why in every case – Nanjing Requiem by Ha Jin sounded promising, as did A Man of Parts : A novel of HG Wells by David Lodge, Keeping Time by STacy McGlynn is set in England and is about an older woman who travels to America to find a lost love – but it sounded ve humorous and the comment that if you liked The Literary Potato Peel Society you mgiht like this induced me to tick this one. Hmm, several others – new one by STephen King is about people travelling back in time to try and prevent the JFK assasination which doesn’t sound terribly original, the Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka is about a group of Japanese mail order brides, If Jack’s in Love by Stephen Wetta sounds very quirky and interesting.
So lots to add to my TBR list. I won a book during this session but when I opened it to my disappointment it was a medieval romance so I gave it to the woman sitting next to me, she insisted on giving me ehr book instead which was a contemporary romance and it was dire so I left it on the paperback exchange. This was slightly disappointing because I could see other people had won quite chunky trade paperbacks that looked evry intriguing. The next session was about genealogy and frankly I started to lose my will to live.
Bookwise, after the medieval romance disappointment, I did have something of a triumph. I was looking in A+ thrift store for jeans for Boy 2 and strolled over to the books and there was a huge fat Penny Vincenzi novel called Wicked Pleasures. I haven’t seen this one in libraries here and it’s quite old, it just had the price in pounds on the back so is maybe the UK edition. She writes books that are really easy to read, pure indulgence really. I tend to listen to my women’s fiction more than reading it these days and have just finished listening to Sing Me Home by Jodi Picoult. I don’t generally find her novels or characters particularly appealling and it’s hard to say why, for some reasons the characters just don’t spring to life enough for me to care about them. Sing Me Home (which was punctuated every few chapters by awful sentimental songs I had to fast forward through) was about a divorced couple. The husband Max, becomes a born again christian afetr the divorce, Zoe, the wife falls in love with a woman and marries ehr. The trouble starts when Zoe wants to start a family with her wife and asks Max for permission to defrost the embryos – Max decides he wants his very religious brother and sister-in-law to have the embryos. Sounds like a gripping situation and most of the novel consisted of the court case and it did keep me awake on my endless drives, but all the religious people in this novel were such cliches and even though I am not religious myself, this bothered me, I think novels need to challenge accepted thinking and assumptions. I knew exactly how the novel would end. Am now listening to Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy, first disc was rather painful, and I don’t expect anything too exciting from this writer, just some cosy entertainment.
I finally visited Ikea today, 12 days after the grand opening. I had assumed that the Ikea fever I’d heard about on the radio would’ve calmed down considerably, however there were floods of excited people rushing into the store at 10 am. I hate crowds and so was trying not to let this spoil it for me. Something that threw me slightly was that the store has lots and lots more than they show in the catalogue. We (Mr W took me) were walking through this vast showcase area full of very impressive looking furniture, rugs, storage options, kitchens, curtains, but everything was just tagged with a note that told you where you could actually find it. Then we made it into the actual shop area. I’d made a wish list but ended up not getting anything on my wish list except for the 2 chunky wineglasses I liked so much. I bought a big red stuffed snake and a rug for Boy 2 and a toilet brush for 99 cents. I agonized over whether or not to buy a wok for $4.99. I found curtain rods for me and Miss W but then decided not to risk buying curtains for Miss W without her approval (she is camping until the end of the week). But I did buy curtains for me, and I was really pleased that they were so cheap. Something on my wish list had been this large print of the Flatiron building in New York, however it was massive and when I saw it I wasn’t sure I liked it quite as much anymore. Then I found this large print of London, you can see Fortnum and Mason, it’s all hustle and bustle, it’s black and white, but the number 38 bus to Victoria is tinted red and really stands out. I thought this picture would be perfect for the kitchen – the expanse of wall that always looks a bit blank and I can never make look right – so I’m going to start painting that wall asap.
It seems a bit amazing that the boys are now both back in school. Boy 1 returned today and is in 10th grade, and of course Boy 2 has been at Serenity now for about 3 weeks. Boy 1 was in a sour mood last night, but went off to school cheerfully enough this morning. Summer is just flying by.
Miss W graduated from her summer program last week (or was it the week before?) but I have been in no hurry to document the ceremony because she was so sullen and the only way I could get through the whole thing was by focusing my attention on another really cheerful girl and pretending to myself that this was my offspring. The visit to Boy 2’s school today was more successful, he has now been at Serenity House for 30 days so the teachers know him better and wanted to discuss what they had observed and talk about future goals. All the staff here are very welcoming and seemed really optimistic about Boy 2’s potential, and reported that he is cheerful and accomodating, is sitting for longer periods, picking up some more basic sign language (to add to his single gesture – clapping – which seems to indicate ‘more’ or ‘please’). He can now do the proper sign for ‘more’ and is learning pre-writing skills and some letter sequencing so that he can recognise and maybe even write his name someday. It is really a stretch for me to picture Boy 2 writing his name, but so great to be with people who think that it’s definitely something worth working for and believe that Boy 2 is worth some effort,
what a change after the negative and defensive staff of Aurora Public Schools.
I feel a bit stunned today as I realize that Boy 1 has even outgrown age 16 jeans and has graduated to the smallest men’s size available. He does fit into age 16 jeans but they look as if they are on the verge of being too small, so it looks as if we’ll be going around the men’s department from now on, well actually I will as he has much better things to do than choose his own clothes. He always seems to like what I pick. Miss W had her summer program graduation last week and seemed woefully underdressed compared to all the other made-up and quite seductive looking 13 and 14 year olds. She is just not interested in clothes and wears basically jeans and a baggy T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of a wolf every day. Absolutely zero interest in make-up.
The purpose of going to Target today was to use the $100 gift card from the Challenge Foundation to buy Miss W school clothes, however I found nothing except boring navy shirts, so the gift card is untouched. I ended up finding jeans for Boy 2 and a pair of Transformers shoes for Boy 1, which he hates – I should never have risked buying him shoes while he wasn’t present. Then I bought myself this dress, but I am now in an agony of doubt about it. I knew I wanted it to wear with my black leggings, but does a 50 year old woman have any business wearing leggings? It is very difficult making the transition into middle age, I don’t want to appear ridiculous but neither do I want to turn to matronly floral blouses. Also bought (very cheap – from Ross) black, patterned dress with 3/4 length sleeves and slash neck, which I love. No more clothes shopping for a while, it’s too traumatic.
Everyone is talking about the new Ikea that is going to open tomorrow in Centennial. Some people are already camping outside, hoping to be one of the first customers – the first people in will receive free couches, armchairs, gift vouchers. When I arrived home today and checked the post there was a big glossy catalog waiting for me. I have looked through it and feel sick that I can’t go and have a huge spending spree. All of a sudden I want to live in a sleek, minimal environment. I do have some nice things, the trouble is I just want to get rid of everything since my divorce, I am so over my big oak table and dark patterned rugs, I loathe the filthy old couch that came from the basement of the old house. But even if I could afford new things, would it be stupid to spruce up a crumbling old trailer?? Surely I need all new things for mental health reasons. I think I’ll look through the catalog again tonight and make a wish list . . .
I’ve done a lot of driving this week – one result of Boy 2 starting school is that Mr W has not been here Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday taking care of him and sometimes offering to go to Wendy’s and pick up Miss W. I was going to write ‘it has been a difficult week’ but in a way that applies to every week in a household with 2 teenagers and a Boy 2. When I was writing in my journal last night, ranting on about something, it occurred to me that in a year or 2 I’d probably be reading that entry and thinking ‘hmm, guess I was having a hard day’ but all that would remain of that day would be that rant in an old notebook. When I look back now it is hard to believe that 3 years have passed since I started blogging and I am now divorced, driving and a single mum of 2 teens and an almost teen. Some things never seem to change and I still have difficulties with certain people in my life which hang over me like a cloud, yet at the same time as I struggle along I have really never been happier. Just a few tweaks are needed here and there, but I think that can always be said of life.